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PLS-4831

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – September 2011

Area Prices 0.1 Percent Lower Since July; 3.4 Percent Higher Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area inched down 0.1 percent from July to September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that a decline in the energy index (-2.4 percent) was nearly offset by increases in the food index (0.7 percent) and the all items less food and energy index (0.1 percent) since July. The two-month decrease in the energy index was led by lower gasoline prices. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, two-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 3.4 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Prices increased for all items less food and energy (2.2 percent), energy (15.1 percent), and food (4.2 percent) since September 2010. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, September 2008 to September 2011 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index rose 0.7 percent from July to September, led by higher prices for food at home, up 1.0 percent. Within the food at home group, higher prices for a number of items including nonfrozen, noncarbonated juices and drinks and ice cream and related products were moderated by lower prices for others such as uncooked ground beef and bread. The other component of the food index, food away from home, increased 0.4 percent over the last two months.

Over the year, the food index rose 4.2 percent. The recent increase was largely due to higher prices for food at home, which advanced 6.2 percent; food away from home prices also rose, up 2.0 percent since last September.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 2.4 percent since July, mainly due to a 2.7-percent drop in gasoline prices. Also contributing to the two-month decrease in the energy index were lower prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas service, down 1.5 and 4.7 percent, respectively.

Energy prices advanced 15.1 percent since September 2010 due almost entirely to a 34.1-percent jump in gasoline prices. Lower prices for electricity (-5.7 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-5.6 percent) moderated the 12-month increase in the energy index.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.1 percent from July to September, led by higher prices for rent of primary residence (0.7 percent) and education and communication (0.5 percent). Nearly offsetting these and other advances were decreases in prices for household furnishings and operations, down 0.8 percent since July, and used cars and trucks.

Over the last 12 months, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.2 percent. The advance was led by higher shelter prices, up 2.6 percent since September 2010, particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 2.4 percent. Price decreases for household furnishings and operations (-5.2 percent) and recreation (-0.9 percent) moderated the over-the-year increase in the all items less food and energy index.

The November 2011 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on December 16, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Table A. Washington-Baltimore CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

0.7 4.1 0.5 2.9 0.8 4.9 -0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3

March

0.4 3.3 1.5 4.1 1.3 4.7 0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0

May

1.6 4.2 0.8 3.2 1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9

July

1.5 4.6 1.1 2.9 1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1

September

-0.4 2.8 0.2 3.4 0.0 5.5 0.1 -0.8 0.5 1.3 -0.1 3.4

November

-0.7 3.1 0.4 4.5 -2.5 2.5 -0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6

Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups: (1) a CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) which covers approximately 87 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 32 percent of the total population. The CPI-U includes, in addition to wage earners and clerical workers, groups such as professional, managerial, and technical workers, the self-employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force.

The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, and fuels, transportation fares, charges for doctors’ and dentists’ services, drugs, and the other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Each month, prices are collected in 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 retail establishments—department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and service establishments. All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use of items are included in the index.

The index measures price changes from a designated reference date (1982-84) that equals 100.0. An increase of 16.5 percent, for example, is shown as 116.5. This change can also be expressed in dollars as follows: the price of a base period “market basket” of goods and services in the CPI has risen from $10 in 1982-84 to $11.65. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 17, The Consumer Price Index, available on the Internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch17_a.htm.

In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are averaged together with weights that represent their importance in the spending of the appropriate population group. Local data are then combined to obtain a U.S. city average. Because the sample size of a local area is smaller, the local area index is subject to substantially more sampling and other measurement error than the national index. In addition, local indexes are not adjusted for seasonal influences. As a result, local area indexes show greater volatility than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar. NOTE: Area indexes do not measure differences in the level of prices between cities; they only measure the average change in prices for each area since the base period.

The Washington-Baltimore, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va., Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) includes the District of Columbia; Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, and Washington in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson in West Virginia.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.

For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.



Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Washington-Baltimore, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va. (December 1997=100 unless otherwise noted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from-
July 2011 Aug. 2011 Sep. 2011 Sep. 2010 July 2011 Aug. 2011

All items (1)

147.747 - 147.658 3.4 -0.1 -

Food and beverages (1)

145.456 - 146.268 4.0 0.6 -

Food (1)

146.921 - 147.987 4.2 0.7 -

Food at home

142.465 144.478 143.878 6.2 1.0 -0.4

Food away from home (2)

149.624 - 150.252 2.0 0.4 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

124.975 - 123.242 1.5 -1.4 -

Housing (1)

155.689 - 155.428 1.4 -0.2 -

Shelter

162.251 162.630 162.366 2.6 0.1 -0.2

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

177.317 177.632 178.491 3.3 0.7 0.5

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

162.395 163.112 162.530 2.4 0.1 -0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

162.399 163.115 162.519 2.4 0.1 -0.4

Fuels and utilities

187.312 - 184.399 -2.2 -1.6 -

Household energy

186.566 185.023 182.708 -3.9 -2.1 -1.3

Energy services (3) (4)

177.386 176.030 173.673 -5.7 -2.1 -1.3

Electricity (3)

184.564 181.397 181.751 -5.7 -1.5 0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

133.841 138.673 127.540 -5.6 -4.7 -8.0

Household furnishings and operations

93.891 - 93.104 -5.2 -0.8 -

Apparel (1)

97.844 - 97.518 4.7 -0.3 -

Transportation (1)

151.844 - 150.734 11.9 -0.7 -

Private transportation

151.683 - 150.867 12.4 -0.5 -

Motor fuel

302.614 302.942 294.652 34.0 -2.6 -2.7

Gasoline (all types)

302.810 303.203 294.686 34.1 -2.7 -2.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

308.817 308.738 300.324 34.8 -2.8 -2.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

297.956 299.541 290.182 32.9 -2.6 -3.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

295.948 297.313 288.801 31.7 -2.4 -2.9

Medical care (1)

155.162 - 155.464 3.6 0.2 -

Recreation

114.368 - 114.291 -0.9 -0.1 -

Education and communication

138.237 - 138.946 0.7 0.5 -

Other goods and services (1)

169.649 - 170.928 2.0 0.8 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

130.062 - 129.811 5.7 -0.2 -

Commodities less food and beverages

121.221 - 120.411 6.8 -0.7 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

154.077 - 152.720 11.8 -0.9 -

Durables

86.353 - 86.090 -0.7 -0.3 -

Services

159.287 - 159.315 2.2 0.0 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

147.280 - 147.169 3.4 -0.1 -

All items less shelter

140.374 - 140.184 3.9 -0.1 -

Commodities less food

121.490 - 120.636 6.6 -0.7 -

Nondurables

148.947 - 148.708 7.7 -0.2 -

Nondurables less food

151.674 - 150.282 11.0 -0.9 -

Services less rent of shelter

156.854 - 156.762 1.6 -0.1 -

Services less medical care services

159.701 - 159.709 2.1 0.0 -

Energy (1)

235.597 234.940 229.947 15.1 -2.4 -2.1

All items less energy

141.394 - 141.626 2.5 0.2 -

All items less food and energy (1)

141.411 - 141.510 2.2 0.1 -

Footnotes
(1) For Washington-Baltimore, indexes on a November 1996=100 base.
(2) For Washington-Baltimore, indexes on a November 1997=100 base.
(3) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(4) This index series was formerly titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
- Data not available.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

Last Modified Date: October 21, 2011

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